Click here to listen to the podcast. Stitches and Wearables staff writer Matthew George talks with Richard Laermer, author of “2011: Trendspotting for the Next Decade,” to find out what trends suppliers and distributors can look forward to in the wearables marketplace. Click here to listen to the podcast.
Much has been said about the economic situation in the past few months. Is it possible that there’s a stone unturned on this topic? Yes – the way you communicate with your personal brand in this economy can have a big impact on how well you weather the challenges that could come your way. Your reactions to the economy, your thoughts about the economy and your actions related to the economy can impact the ultimate outcome for your personal brand. REACTIONS: If you want to see someone’s true personal brand, watch them react to adverse events. How you react in crisis situations says a lot about who you really are. The key to mastering your personal brand is to remain consistent over time. You can’t always control what happens to you, but you can control how you react to what happens to you. Think about the personal brand you’re presenting through your reactions to the economy. You’ll make better decisions when you stop yourself from shifting into a fear-driven state that may cause knee-jerk reactions you’ll regret later. THOUGHTS: Become aware of what your thoughts are telling you about the economic situation. Sit back and take inventory of how you feel about the financial climate right now. You will build your personal brand based on those feelings. Your thoughts drive your emotions, your emotions drive your behavior, and those behaviors are responsible for creating the results.
Watch your words – What you say stems from your thoughts, so be mindful of how you talk about today’s economy. Calling the situation a “crisis” creates anxiety. Sit back and objectively analyze your own situation before deciding if it truly is a crisis. No one wants to be around someone with a negative or a defeatist personal brand.
ACTIONS: If you still find that the economic situation is keeping you up at night, objectively assess your situation and make a plan. Are you anxious because you’re too far in debt? If that’s the case, take decisive action by seeing a financial counselor. Sit back, and calmly consider: What feels “right” to do? Set some goals and take at least one action each day to move closer to that goal.
How will we look back on this economic event in the future? Reports about both the 1929 and 1987 market crashes have shown that people who kept a calm demeanor and stayed the course ended up doing better in the long run – from both a financial and an emotional standpoint. And you can be sure they built strong personal brands in the meantime, too.
BIO: BRENDA BENCE is a branding expert and certified executive coach. For more information visit www.BrendaBence.com
Five Ways to Access and Preserve Capital in Tough Times
In the upcoming issue of Wearables, we look at the new rules of credit and liquidity that will keep your business afloat. Here’s a primer on five credit items you should know about.
1. Variable payment terms: Offering discounts and levying penalties at various points to entice customers to pay debts early, or at least on time. For instance: 2% discount when total payment is made within 20 days of invoice date; 1% discount when total payment is made between 20 and 30 days; no discount when total payment is made between 30 and 45 days; 2% additional levy when total payment is made after 45 days; 4% additional levy when total payment is made after 60 days.
2. Factoring: A form of short-term commercial finance whereby one firm buys at a discount the debts owed to another firm, in order to profit by collecting them in full. Can be on-demand service, or a continuous "full service" arrangement whereby the factor agrees to purchase invoices from a firm regularly. In addition, a full-service factor would then also administer and control the client's sales ledger and collect due debts from the client's customers. The factor would also provide regular documentation detailing receipt of invoices from the client, advances, payments by the customer, and other reports relating to sales ledger activity. A full-service factor can also, upon agreement, offer "no recourse," whereby the factor absorbs losses incurred by an invoiced customer's inability to pay. Factoring is also known as "invoice financing."
3. Commercial credit insurance: Coverage for a firm if its debtors fail to pay their obligations. The insured firm can be a manufacturer or a service organization, but it cannot sell its products or services on a retail level. Under this insurance, the insured firm assumes the expected loss up to the retention amount, while the insurance company pays the excess losses above that amount, up to the limit of the policy.
4. Purchase-order financing: A loan given by a financial institution based on a purchase order from a creditworthy, stable customer.
5. Bartering: The exchange of goods or services for other goods, instead of using cash as the medium. The trade can be directly between the two parties, or the trade can go through a barter exchange. The exchange has members who agree to offer their services or products in exchange for access to many other firms' goods and services. The exchange works on a point system: one point per dollar of near-retail value. Further, approach bartering as you would any other sale or purchase. Deal with reputable companies. Don't feel you have to discount your product. The barter purchase is reflected on your income statement as an expense. The barter sale (what you trade) is reflected as revenue. The Internet, the Yellow Pages and local chambers of commerce can help you find barter exchanges.
BIO: ROBERT CAREY is a NY-based contributing writer.
Q&A: Dale Denkensohn, econscious (asi/51656)
What is the history behind econscious? Dale Denkensohn: We started econscious so that we could bring organic and sustainable apparel and accessories to as broad a market as possible. In the past few years, the general public has become increasingly aware of the benefits of chemical-free manufacturing on personal health and on the sustainability of the environment. With the emergence of conscious buyers, we knew it was time for sustainable and organic products to be out of the margins and into the mainstream.
Dales Denkensohn is the Founder andCEO of econscious.
When and how did the company first enter the ad specialty market? DD: econscious has been in the ad specialty market since conception. We recognized that the promotional market supplies more volume than any other channel. This aligned with our company’s mission to increase the amount of certified organic and sustainable products in the market for a better future for our health and planet.
What adjustments did you need to make? DD: From the perspective of supplying organic and sustainable apparel to the ad specialty market, we had to design and manufacture products that are recognized for their quality at a competitive price point to compete with conventional cotton products and to meet the demands of buyers.
What innovations/new products have you brought to the industry? DD: We have innovated not by making well-designed, beautiful product in a new way, but out of existing, sustainable fibers and processes. We’ve always had the philosophy that organic apparel really needs to be good sportswear. Good colors, great fabrics, great hand-feel, etc. As companies stretch the term “green” both in the manufacturing process and in marketing materials, it undermines the entire purpose. econscious’ dedication to transparency and certified standards guarantees a credible assurance to the promotional products industry.
Why are organic cotton and sustainable apparel so important? DD: By switching to organic cotton we improve many of the most pressing issues of our time. Most consumers want to know, “What’s the benefit for me?” According to the Organic Trade Association, if one out of every five Americans bought just one organic T-shirt, instead of one made with conventional cotton, almost 50,000 tons of agrochemicals would be prevented from being released into our environment. These chemicals ruin water supplies, eventually destroy the farmland and its surrounding ecosystem, and make their way into our food chain through meat and seed products.
What are your biggest challenges in selling green apparel? DD: The biggest challenge is that the sale involves educating the consumer in addition to selling the product. As brands continue to align themselves with the green movement, both to satisfy the growing demand of conscious consumers and to align with their brand's core values, many are turning to econscious’ experts to streamline the time, expertise and resources required to ensure the organic status of a product.
What is the future of green sales in the current economy? DD: I think people will continue to recognize the importance of protecting our environment and making sustainability principles a tenet of doing business. That’s not going to change.
Sell To: Any female employee or client who wants to change a minimal part of their lifestyle to become more environmental friendly.
Style Tip: This ladies 100% organic cotton T-shirt (18001ORG) features a crew neck and set-in sleeves with a two-needle sleeve and bottom hem. Available in heather marble, heather oatmeal and heather charcoal
[ NEWS BRIEFS ]
A.W.T. World Trade Inc. offers the Kleen-View Washout Sink to make washing out and inspecting screen frames easier, more efficient, less messy and more environmentally-friendly.
Barry T. Chouniard Inc. offers men’s retro ringer T-shirt, featuring the traditional contrasting color bands on the neck and sleeves and a double-needle hem. Available in size small to 3XL and eight different colors.
Falcon Headwear and Apple Imprints Apparel have joined forces promoting their new Cap-n-Tee promotion.
Hanes EasyColor program includes a new swatch card design that allows customers to shop by both color and style using an innovative slide card.
HPI EMBLEM (asi/62066) has developed an “end-user safe” Web site to help distributors educate their customers about patches. This informational site gives consumers a crash course in patch essentials.
Pacific Sportswear & Emblem Company has launched its Fiber-Tech Blinking Fiber Optic Headwear line. It will embroider any part of the hat to match a company logo and install up to 85 lights throughout the embroidery.
[ ASK AN EXPERT ]
Question: Could you please tell me where I can find long-billed fishing caps. Thanks!
Answer: Sure can! Try Dri Duck Traders Inc. (asi/50835); (866) 852-8222; www.driducktraders.com; Product # 3025. This is a long-billed fishing cap with an animal image. In fact, Dri Duck carries a few unique fishing caps. Look at products 3047, 3260, 3256 and 3263. Or, try Mega Cap Inc. (asi/70434); (888) 616-6342; www.megacapinc.com; product 9019A. This is a long-billed fishing cap with chin cord. It's available in four camouflage colors. Let me know what you think. Thanks.
Style Tip: Gift fishing caps to employees that are outdoor enthusiasts. Personalize the cap with their name so they remember how appreciated they are every time they’re out on the water.
Question: I’m looking for moisture-wicking T-shirts with chest pockets. Can you help me? Thank you.
Answer: Easy one! Image Apparel Solutions (asi/62202); (847) 229-2000 carries a few moisture-wicking T-shirts with pockets. Try products K204, K206, K212 and K227. Or, try Staton Corporate and Casual (asi/89380); (800) 950-6111; www.statononline.com; product W2003. This is a moisture-wicking V-neck T-shirt with a side pocket. Also, try Screenmates/Century Place (asi/85988); (888) 462-6886; www.centuryplace.com. It carries a bunch of NEW moisture-wicking T-shirts with pockets. Product C1500 is a great one! Thanks!
Style Tip: Moisture-wicking T-shirts make a great gift for recipients to use as undershirts. Or, give clients T-shirts with your embroidered logo on the chest pocket.
Experience The New ASICentral!
The team at ASICentral.com has just unveiled an upgrade of the entire site in an effort to remove old, outdated pages and consolidate navigation and content more intuitively. The site now boasts a bigger, bolder search box; comprehensive vertical navigation on every page; a new "Social" section; and much more. Learn all about the changes, including where you can find some of the old navigation items, by reading the Team Blog.
If you have questions, comments or any type of feedback regarding the upgrade or anything ASICentral, don't hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
[ WEARABLES TERMS ]
Getting familiar with these terms will make any ad specialty distributors look like an apparel expert. Below are some of the most prominent names in the industry.
CoolMax: The DuPont technology that uses specially engineered fibers to push perspiration to the surface of a garment. Used in many brand-name moisture management systems.
PlayDry: Reebok moisture-wicking technology.
PolarTec: Leading manufacturer of synthetic and technology fabrics. Its products run the gamut from moisture-wicking and insulation to stretch and weather protection.
StretchFlex: Bella’s stretch-fabric technology found in its Alo line.
TempraDry: Moisture-wicking system from WICKid (asi/97125) that uses micro-fiber polyester to keep the wearer cool and dry.